Namma Metro stations have become busier as more commuters use the service, but operator BMRCL has no plans to install platform screen doors, a key safety feature that protects people from falling onto the tracks and helps maintain order at platforms.
Of the 40 existing stations on Purple and Green Lines, 14 see over 10,000 commuters every day. Byappanahalli, Majestic interchange, Yelachenahalli, Indiranagar and Mysuru Road are the busiest. Jostling among people trying to board Metro coaches and those trying to exit has become more frequent during peak hours, and crowding on platforms itself poses a safety risk.
Platform screen doors are synced with coach doors, and open only when the trains stop. Apart from acting as a safety barrier, they keep platforms cooler by preventing the AC air from flowing into tunnels. Such doors have been installed in Delhi and Chennai. All trains running on Purple and Green Lines now have six coaches and this has boosted Namma Metro’s average daily ridership.
Experts say anticipating further growth in footfalls, BMRCL should start introducing platform screen doors, so commuters can get used to the concept. However, a senior BMRCL official said currently, there were such no plans for under-construction stations on the extension lines. But the measure is being considered for 12 underground stations of the Pink Line (Gottigere-Nagawara).
“BMRCL had claimed that Majestic is one of the largest Metro stations in Asia, but it resembles a street market during peak hours. A handful of security guards on the platform cannot handle the crowd. We need screen doors. In Delhi, all major stations have this safety feature to prevent untoward incidents,” said Anil Kumar, a regular Metro user. Further, to ease crowding, BMRCL should sync timings of trains on Purple and Green Lines.
Another commuter, Lakshmi R, said. “Without additional measures, like platform screens, it will be difficult for most stations to handle the rush. Right now, people have to wait about 10 minutes before a train arrives; the frequency issue is also contributing to the problem.”